MARSHALL - Southwest Minnesota State ran into a buzz saw in its final two games at Mustang Field on Saturday, losing 6-0 and 8-2 in a sweep by No. 25-ranked Winona State. It was the final game on the home field for SMSU seniors Jennifer Johnson and Kayley Scearcy.
Both of them had fond memories of playing on what was sometimes a weather-plagued field.
For both Johnson and Scearcy, their favorite memories consist of just being able to play at the park with their teammates.
"This team is like your family," Johnson said.
"This is a small town and you have a lot of time to spend with your teammates," Scearcy added. "Everyone helps each other through a lot of things. It's fun to see everyone come back in the fall with new attitudes and outlooks on how were going to be."
Getting on the field as much as they did was a testament to the senior's work ethic as both struggled at times to stay healthy throughout their time at SMSU, so being able to be on the field a lot this season meant a lot to them.
Winona State 6, SMSU 0
Morgan Lintz led the offense for the Warriors with two RBI as she went 2-for-4 from the plate. Winona State received a triple from Jenny Nelson and a double from Mary Turitto as each had one RBI.
SMSU kept it close at 2-0 until the fifth, when the Warriors broke it open, scoring three runs and one more in the sixth. Ashley Walker struck out three Mustangs and didn't walk anybody as she allowed six hits.
Karmann Carroll had two hits to lead the Mustangs with a pair of singles. SMSU had singles from Elissa Reinsma, Johnson, Scearcy and Jazmyne Neely.
The Mutsnags left six on base compared to eight for Winona State.
Alex O'Connor went the full seven for the Mustangs, striking out three and walking three while allowing six runs on 10 hits.
Winona State 8, SMSU 2
The Warriors got two RBI each from Turitto, Nelson and Brooke Piotrowski as they blew the game open in the fourth inning, scoring five runs in that stanza.
Nelson finished with a home run, Piotrowski a triple and Turitto a double to lead the Warriors, offensively.
Hannah Lythberg fanned five Mustangs in seven innings of work while walking just one and allowing two runs on eight hits.
Scearcy and Neely each had a RBI for the Mustangs as the both went 1-for-4 from the plate with singles.
O'Connor worked seven innings and struck out six while allowing three walks and eight runs on 11 hits.
For Mustangs coach Jamie Dunn, she knew she had a tough test coming in against the No. 25 ranked team in the country.
"They're a very good team," Dunn said. "They hit the ball well and they have everything. It didn't help that our No. 1 pitcher Rachel Hoeppner woke up sick this morning. We didn't give up. We fought, we just didn't put up enough runs on the board to get the win."
Dunn felt the 14-inning day was a big learning experience for O'Connor and she was proud of the six-strikeout performance in Game 2. After the home run by Nelson in the second game, O'Connor was able to learn from that and knew how to handle the situation differently next time.